Agent Starling release their second album ‘Constellation of Birds’ on February 25th 2022. Written and recorded by Agent Starling’s Lou Duffy-Howard and Quentin Budworth it follows debut album European Howl and winter EP The Northern Lights Trilogy, both released in 2021.
In ‘Constellation of Birds’ real instruments, hurdy-gurdy, bass, violin, cello, hypnotic drones, vocal harmonies & spoken words are interwoven with found sounds and manipulated electronic synthesized tones. The melodies are inspired by traditional tunes, playing techniques, chants and refrains. The rhythm tracks are constructed from samples recorded around the home and field recordings to make rolling patterns and trap beats. The resulting mix is a very modern sound, a complex, compelling musical counterpoint full of catchy tunes with Pop, Indie, Folk and Dance sensibilities, all with an experimental edge.
The album features seven new original songs telling stories inspired by the environment in the contemporary world and influenced by musical traditions from nations across Europe, together with Agent Starling’s arrangements of two traditional tunes, O’Carolan’s Irish waltz Bridget Cruise and Swedish polska Hälleforsnäsar.
Agent Starling’s original songs span a joyful celebration of the summer solstice, Midsommer, to the song of an alien stranded on Earth during the pandemic – Leave No Trace. Paqaratz is an observation of the band’s dissent with the British government. Shadowland depicts a mysterious chance meeting by the dark sea, while dance track Princess Julia tells a fairy tale of a royal pretender and her secret. Valley to Mountainside, with its compound time signature changes and layered overlapping harmonies extols the beauty of nature, and in the album’s closing spoken word track – The Stonemason’s Dream – Agent Starling call for cathedral-thinking in the modern world to preserve it.
Watch the video for single Princess Julia here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoN3UuyTZXc&ab_channel=LoudhailerUK
Quentin and Lou both have strong musical provenance. Lou was originally in recently reformed prophetic UK Indie band Red Guitars and has gigged and recorded ever since, currently heading up psychedelic rock band Loudhailer Electric Company. Originally part of Suns of Arqa, hurdy-gurdy specialist Quentin is the force behind world fusion medieval rave band Celtarabia. Agent Starling are preparing to tour in 2023.